Dec 19, 2017 - Ancestry

One Family’s 23andMe Christmas Story


Our customers often share their stories with us, which are both moving and motivating as we get to see the real impact 23andMe results can have in people’s lives.

One such story came in recently from Bev Glaspey of Lake Placid, Florida. Bev called it her ‘Family Christmas Story,’ because it was about the best kind of present, a gift of family.

This is their story.

At their first meeting in early December, from left to right, Florence’s half-brother Robin, her daughter Bev, and Florence.

Bev’s mom, Florence Axelson was born in Chicago in 1922, and adopted when she was 1 year-old. For all of her 95 years she had almost no information about her birth family. The one exception was that back in the mid-1970s Florence applied for a passport and in the process she also had to get a copy of her birth certificate.

Getting that document also got Florence the first bit of information about her origins, her biological mother’s name. But when she tried to use that bit of information to get more details about her adoption she hit a brick wall. The records, she was told, had been destroyed in a fire.

There was little more that she had to go on, and over time life got in the way of searching. That didn’t mean it wasn’t something she thought about. In fact, all of her daughters, Bev and Bev’s two sisters, all wondered about their mother’s family. Even simple things, like what their family’s nationality was, remained unknown.

That is until Bev purchased a 23andMe kit for herself and her mom. Bev started exploring their DNA Relatives, finding cousins she never knew she had. The closest was a cousin named Cathy, who was the key to unlocking Florence’s story.

Cathy’s mom, who is still alive, is Florence’s half-sister.

“Mom found out she was the firstborn child to a young unwed mother,” Bev said.

She learned that she didn’t just have one half sibling, but her biological mother had 12 children in all, three of her half-sisters and one half-brother are still living.

Florence was able to talk to two of her half sisters, and then at 95 she was able to meet her half brother Robin and his wife Kim for the first time when he came in early December to visit her at her assisted living facility.

“I was able to find mom’s birth mother’s family,” Bev said. “This has been a wonderful gift to our family. “

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